O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.This journey, it says, for now, is about knowing God by faith — another chunky splat of mud in the eye for the childish concept of Christianity as trump suit supremacism.
And its point, after this life is over and we know as we have been known, is the fruition (before us, around us, ultimately in us) of God’s glorious godhead, the power that made the night shine and drew stargazers from the East.
Our work is not to light up the star, which, like most well bred stars can light itself up thank you very much. It is the tougher job of allowing ourselves, resistant materials all of us, to become a community of grace. Godhead fruits, slowly, in the kind of community that manures it well and allows it to fruit. The true task is at least as much about how we do what we do, as it is about what we do.
The prime role of the stewards of this holy mystery is not to be minders or managers, cheerleaders or indispensables, but simply people in whom this process is going on, as freely, honestly and unashamedly as we can manage.
Bearers of such grace build up fruitful community, which is known, not by its correctness or its media skill, but, er, by its fruit.
The number one priority for the year ahead, then, more important than concocting inspiring sermons or spine-tingling worship experiences, is the building up of a truthful, smelly, but fruitful community.
That way we all end up where we’re supposed to be, not stuck in a lay-by speaking only to ourselves and the others in our small car.
That way Epiphany happens.